Ko Lipe, Thailand: Mango Shake Chillout

Trip Start Jul 28, 2013
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Trip End Feb 06, 2014


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Flag of Thailand  , Satun,
Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Our original plans were to go Ko Ngai - Ko Mook - Ko Kraden and then Ko Libong but on arriving in the archipelago and seeing how close everything was we decided to go further afield to a small island called Ko Lipe. Located near the Malaysian border it was rumoured to have beautiful white sand beaches and a relaxed vibe. Better still it was only a 2 hour direct speedboat ride away.

After stuffing ourselves one final time at the omelette station we retired to the pool for a last dip. When the boat arrived we lugged our bags across the beach and through the water to throw them onto the boat. Busier than usual we managed to acquire two seats up the front where we spent the rest of the journey gazing across the shimmering ocean.

Pulling into Lipe we sailed across turquoise waters dotted with coral. It was so clear you could see fish swim across the sandy rippled bottom. Having entrusted in Bridger's method of having no pre booked accommodation we walked along the beach to a cafe. Whilst waiting for our food and drink to arrive I walked down the beach to suss out accommodation options. Of course the cheapest was found at the far end of the bay, making it a long hot sweaty walk with our packs.

True to form Lipe was indeed an island of white sand beaches with sand so soft it was like it had been passed through a sieve. The island has two main bays which are joined by a sandy footpath lined with shops, bars and restaurants. We spent the first two nights on Pattaya Beach and then moved to Sunrise Beach for the final three having found cheaper bungalows.

At night candlelight flickers along Pattaya Beach as restaurants set out tables and chairs down to the water. Ornate sandcastles are built to entice customers along with the aroma wafting from the seafood BBQ. In between the restaurants are bars with cushions and candles laid out in the sand. Local musicians play guitar and fire twirlers weave trails of light across the night sky. A lot more chilled out than Phi Phi. A lot more choice and action than Ko Mook. Sunrise Beach also has a few bars and restaurants but the majority are found on Pattaya.

During the day we walked between the bays. Swam, threw waboba ball, sunbathed for 5 minutes before being too hot and having to cool off in the water. We didn't feel any stingers at Pattaya Beach but there were a few on Sunrise Beach. The sand was also a lot softer on Pattaya and the sea calmer. There were an awful lot of boats on both bays though which was a shame. Also on a few of the days the tide bought with it a lot of debris which eventually washed up on shore - bottles, plastic bags, a washing basket, orphan flipflops. Shame as I'm sure the vast majority came from the main land and had nothing to do with Lipe at all.

We went on a snorkelling trip to some of the outter islands. 9 of us on a longtail boat from 0930 - 1600. Not the best snorkelling I've ever done but nice all the same. Colourful soft corals being guarded by angel fish, sea anenomies housing clown fish, brightly coloured parrot fish nibbling away at coral, spearheaded trumpet fish, fluro surgeonfish and cheeky little damsel fish that give you the occasional nibble. Giant clams with lips painted electric blue, purple or green. Just a pity we didn't see any turtles or dolphins.

I wanted to take out a kayak to paddle around the atolls just off Sunset Beach or hire a longtail to take us to one of the bigger neighbouring islands but our days, like many a mango shake, simply disappeared. Whilst enjoying a rather delicious eggs benedict one morning I looked across the way to a beauty salon advertising eyebrow plucking. Living a somewhat ferrel existence and due to see my family in less than a week I decided to try and smarten up so I left Sam in the cafe and went across. With a technician called in especially I was laid to rest whilst she went about her duty. More than half an hour later I emerged. Big mistake, huge. My eyebrows are now a shadow of their former glory and I'm thinking about calling my friend to get the number of the person she had tattoo her eyebrows on. Note to self, never trust a tweezer-wieldingThai woman as she'll pluck you like a chicken and graze your brow to buggery.

At night we walked the bustling street surveying the food and bar options. Phad Thai and Sweet & Sour Prawns were firm favourites. Another night we enjoyed a very nice Indian curry. Longtail Bar had two guys playing acoustic Coldplay. At Mellowmango I had a victory over Sam 5-4 at Connect Four. Pooh's Bar showed nightly movies at 6pm so we sprawled across the floor on cushions and watched "The Kingdom" which was actually pretty good. OMG Bar also did movies and sport so on our last night we chilled out there to watch the Man City v Arsenal match. With 9 goals scored it was quite an entertaining game. Back in our bungalow on Sunrise Beach we were woken each night by the local pack of dogs playing chasy and/or fighting. Once they had everyone awake they got bored and moved on down the beach.

Like Ko Mook the weather was glorious and the longer we stayed the hotter it got. By our last day we were only out of the water for a couple of minutes before venturing back in to wallow in the swallows. Spending too much time with his head underwater Sam got an ear infection. Not helped by a full day snorkelling. At least we still have 4 nights before we need to fly.

How are our tans coming along I hear you ask? Well, it just so happens I was sat at a bar the other day and the bartender says to me "where are you from?" at which got me a little confused as I had already told him. So I say "Australia". "Yes, but where?" he repeats. "Perth". Now he looks a little confused as he tries to formulate what it is he's trying to ask me "Yes, but where are YOU from? Your dark hair. Your dark skin. Are you aboriginal?" Hahahaa which I guess means it's coming along quite well!

INFO:

ACCOMMODATION:
Daya Bungalows, Pattaya Beach TBH 1200 (£23) beachfront bungalow, TBH 600 (£11.50) garden bungalow. Fan, cold water, free coffee at breakfast.
Virina Village, Sunrise Beach. Variety of bamboo bungalows starting at TBH 1,000 (£19) for beachfront, TBH 800 (£15) second row, TBH 700 (£13.50) third row, TBH 600 (£11.50) forth row and back. We opted for one of the 600 which was more than adequate. Fan, cold water.

EXCURSION:
Snorkelling trip TBH 650 (£12.50) each dep 0930 arr 1600.
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